Holy Pilgrimage - Hindu temples in Nepal
Akash Bhairav Temple, Nepal
The head of the Aakash Bhairav was dug up several hundred years ago in Kathmandu. The head now resides in a Hindu temple in Indra Chock Kathmandu not far fromDurbar Square and is taken out of the temple once a year and is blessed by the Kumari - the living goddess who lives in the nearby Kumari Chowk. Once a year this ceremony is held in the month of August/September.
In September 2007 Nepal's state-run airline confirmed that it had sacrificed two goats to appease Akash Bhairab, whose symbol is seen on the company's planes, following technical problems with one of its aircraft. Nepal Airlines said the animals were slaughtered in front of the plane - a Boeing 757 - at Kathmandu airport. The airline said that after the ceremony the plane successfully completed a flight to Hong Kong. "The snag in the plane has now been fixed and the aircraft has resumed its flights," senior airline official Raju KC was quoted as saying. The company did not say what the problem was, but reports in local media had blamed an electrical fault
Dakshinkali Temple, Nepal
Dakshinkali Temple or Dakshin Kali Temple, located 22 kilometres (14 mi) outside Kathmandu and about 1 kilometre (0.6 mi) outside the village of Pharping, is one of the main temples of Nepal dedicated to the goddess Kali. Animal sacrifices, particularly of cockerels and uncastrated male goats, are the main way that the goddess is worshipped, and this is especially seen during the Dashain festiva
Doleshwor Mahadeva Temple, Nepal
Doleshwor Mahadeva (Nepali:डोलेश्वर महादेव) is a Hindu Temple of Lord Shiva located in the Sipadol VDC, south eastern part of Bhaktapur District, Nepal, and is believed to be the head part of Kedarnath located in Uttarakhand, India
Chandeshwari Temple, Nepal
The Chandeshwari temple complex (also called Chandeshwori) lies just outside Banepa in the east of the Kathmandu Valley. The myth of the Chandeshwari tempel is that this is the place where the mother goddess (Sati / Parvati and in Banepa known as Chandeshwari) defeated the demon Chanda. The demon was a plague to the world since Shiva gave him a boon that made him undefeatable except by women. The desperate gods asked Brahma for advice and he sent them to the forest around Banepa where the mother gods lived in those days. In the mean time Narada went to Chanda and provoked him to come to Banepa to fight the gods. When Chanda arrived with a big army of demons, all the gods took the forms of different birds and flew. The mother goddess quickly disappeared in a tree but Chanda saw that and cut down the tree with his sword. Now the goddess appeared on a big lion and a terrible fight between her and Chanda started. But Chanda had no chance and was killed by the mother goddess. Out of the belly of Chanda who was a big devotee of Shiva a lingam grew. This lingam can be seen in the small temple just in front of the big temple in the Chandeshwari temple complex. It is said that down at the big rocks around the river you can still see the marks of the big fight between the goddess and the demon.
Manakamana Temple, Nepal
The Manakamana temple situated in the Gorkha district of Nepal is the sacred place of the Hindu Goddess Bhagwati, an incarnation of Parvati. The name Manakamana originates from two words, “mana” meaning heart and “kamana” meaning wish. Venerated since the 17th century, it is believed that Goddess Bhagwati grants the wishes of all those who make the pilgrimage to her shrine to worship her.
LocationThe Manakamana temple lies 12 Km south of the town Gorkha The temple is located on a distinguished ridge 1302 meters above sea level and overlooks the river valleys of Trisuli in the south and Marsyangdi in the west. The spectacular views of the Manaslu- Himachali and Annapurna ranges can be seen to the north of the temple. The temple is approximately a 104 Km drive from Kathmandu and can also be reached via bus east from Pokhara in around three to four hours.
Mythical FoundationThe legend of Manakamana Goddess dates back to the reign of the Gorkha king Ram Shah during the 17th century. It is said that his queen possessed divine powers, which only her devotee Lakhan Thapa knew about. One day, the king witnessed his queen in Goddess incarnation, and Lakhan Thapa in the form of a lion. Upon mentioning the revelation to his queen, a mysterious death befell the king. As per the custom of that time, the queen committed sati (ritual immolation) on her husband’s funeral pyre. Before, her sati the queen had assured Lakhan Thapa that she would reappear in the near future. Six months later, a farmer while ploughing his fields cleaved a stone. From the stone he saw a stream of blood and milk flow. When Lakhan heard an account of this event, he immediately started performing Hindu tantric rituals at the site where the stone had been discovered thus ceasing the flow of blood and milk. The site became the foundation of the present shrine. According to tradition, the priest at the temple must be a descendent of Lakhan Thapa.
Manakamana DarshanDarshan comes from the Sanskrit word meaning sight. The pilgrimage to Manakamana is made by a great many people every year. This religious expedition to see the Goddess Bhagwati at Manakamana is hence referred to as Manakamana Darshan. According to Hindu mythology the universe is said to consist of five cosmic elements- earth, fire, water, air and ether. The offerings to the Goddess are made on this basis. At least one of the following should be amongst the worship materials:
1. Abir (vermillion)
2. Kesar (pure saffron extract)
3. Flowers and leaves
4. Dhup (incense)
5. Diyo (oil lamp)
6. Bastra (Cloth, usually in red as it is considered auspicious)
7. Fruit and foods such as coconuts and sweet desserts
9. Betel nut and jannai (sacred thread)
10. Anna, grain (rice)
There is a tradition of sacrificing animals at the temple. Some pilgrims sacrifice a goat or pigeon in a pavilion behind the temple. However, recently the District Livestock Service Office, Gorkha has banned the sacrifice of birds such as pigeons, roosters, and ducks to name a few. Senior livestock service officer Chhetra Bahadur K.C. said poultry sacrifice would not be permitted until further notice.
Manakamana darshan is most popular during Dashain (Sept –Oct) and Nag Panchami (July –August) during which time devotees stand for as long as five to ten hours to pray to Goddess Bhagwati.
Temple ArchitectureThe Manakamana temple is set in a square and looks across a massive sacred magnolia tree. The temple is four storied with tiered pagoda style roofs and lies on a square pedestal. In 1996, brass plates were installed on the roof. The entrance to the temple is in the southwest direction and is marked by one stone, which is the sacrificial pillar.
Cable CarIn earlier times the only way to reach the Manakamana temple was by walking uphill for about three hours. Now, there is a cable car that runs from the cable station of Cheres, just 5 kilometers east of Mugling to Manakamana. The cable car rides over the distance of 2.8 kilometers in 10 minutes more or less. The cable car usually operates during the daytime from 9am to 5pm stopping during lunch break from noon to half past one. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev inaugurated Manakamana cable car on November 24, 1998. The cable car system was imported from Austria and guarantees a hundred percent safety. It has features such as automatically operated generators in case of power failure and hydraulic emergency drive. The employees working at the cable car service are qualified and well trained for emergencies.
The bottom station of the cable car is placed at Kurintar (258 meters) and the top station is at Mankamana (1302 meters). With 31 passenger cars and 3 cargo cars, the cable car can handle up to 600 persons per hour. The number of passengers per carrier is 6. The cable car requires a starting power of about 523 Kilowatt and continues further at a power of 420 Kilowatt. All passengers are insured up to Rs. 1,00,000. The tickets for the cable car are valid for seven days from the date of issue.
Manakamana in need of restorationThe highly acclaimed Manakamana temple is currently in plight. After the disastrous earthquake in 1934, Manakamana’s southwest portion began to tilt. The entrance to the temple has digressed from its silver doorframe and the wood frames are also decaying. Two colossal black wooden pillars supporting the temple have also shifted positions, causing the temple to incline. Mice and cockroaches can be seen crawling on the temple premises. The earthquake on November 13, 2011 with its epicenter in northeast Gorkha further weakened the temple’s structure because of which the temple base depressed into the ground. The slopes next to the temple have faced numerous mudslides creating a threat to the temple.
According to a report submitted by the Department of Archaeology (DoA) and the Ministry of Culture (MoC) in 2011, the wooden planks supporting the temple are swarming with termites. The improper channeling of water has led to the decay of the temple’s brick foundation. However, a research officer at DoA asserted that the temple is damaged beyond repair and must in fact be relocated.
The government of Nepal has donated over one Kg gold for the renovation of the Manakamana temple
Janaki Mandir, Nepal
It is an example of 'Hindu-Rajput' architecture. This is considered as the most important model of the Rajput architecture in Nepal.
HistoryThe Janaki Mandir was built by Queen Brisabhanu Kunwari of Tikamgarh from central India in AD 1911, at a cost of rupees 900,000. In local parlance, the temple is also called Nau Lakha Mandir or Temple of Nine Lakh Rupees.
In 1657, a golden statue of the Goddess Sita was found at the very spot, and Sita is said to have lived there. The legend had it that it was built on the holy site where Sannyasi Shurkishordas had found the images of Goddess Sita. In fact, Shurkishordas was the founder of modern Janakpur and the great saint and poet who preached about the Sita Upasana (also called Sita Upanishad) philosophy. Legend has it that King Janaka performed the worship of Shiva-Dhanus on this site.
Om Tat Sat
(My humble salutations to the great devotees , wikisources and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )